Orbital Resonance (Century Next Door, #1)
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Orbital Resonance (Century Next Door #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Melpomene Murray's concerns are those of any teenager: homework, friends, dates. But Melpomene lives on the Flying Dutchman, an asteroid colony located thousands of miles from an Earth almost destroyed by disease, war, and pollution. She and her spaceborn classmates are humanity's last hope, and Mel's just starting to realize how heavy a responsibility that is. Her parents...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published December 15th 1992 by Tor Books (first published December 1991)
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Explanation of my desire to read (animated whiteboard review):


Ack. Out of print and no ebook.

Ordered 'new' from Amazon for $6, dammit.

Got it in the mail today!

page 47/245 - Flying through it so far. Very similar to those old Heinlein juveniles. Sometimes I get a little confused with the science and the slang, but a lot of it is like sf candy, told from a young but very smart girl's point of view. It takes place on an asteroid converted into a space ship or...more
Jan 09, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: think_galactic, anyone who likes politics in their scifi
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Julian
Shelves: sci-fi, sociology, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this read. The beginning threw me off a bit-the story is told as though written by the main character. The main character is also quite young (12) although people reach adult status earlier in the novel.

It also uses made-up slang, which I usually find very annoying and overused in most books, but it wasn't annoying in this one. For one thing, there were only a couple of slang words, which were easy to pick up from the context and weren't used so much that they became irritating...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

The front cover of this edition bears an endorsement from Orson Scott Card comparing Barnes to Robert A. Heinlein. On the basis of earlier Barnes novels, the John Brunner-like Mother of Storms and the brutal Kaleidoscope Century, this may seem rather a strange comparison to make. Yet Orbital Resonance is distinctly reminiscent of the best of Heinlein's books for teenagers, a tradition to which Card's own Ender's Game perhaps also belongs. (Orb...more
"Orbital Resonance" by John Barnes examines the life of its protagonist, 13-year old Melpomeme Murray, in a combination of a coming of age tale and sociological and political commentary about an alternate future involving a rapidly degenerating Earth. I didn't know what to expect for this, being my first Barnes novel overall, but I was pleasantly surprised and drawn into many of the moments within this work.

Melopomeme is a likable lead to follow. I'll fully admit that I liked and identified with...more
Part of John Barnes' "Century Next Door/Meme Wars" un-series (as they're not sequels, simply related and connected). Definitely the most lighthearted and least apocalyptic of the three I've read (still tracking down the fourth), but also the least satisfying.

At this point in the world's timeline, Earth is pretty much a shambles, its ecology thrashing due to some extrapolated quasi-weapons technology and thus most heavy industry moved off-world. The Flying Dutchman is a "transfer ship" designed t...more
Although the main character is thirteen-year-old Melpomene Murrary, this is not a story for young people. Although she lives on an asteroid colony desperately needed to supply a dying Earth, this is not a story about space and space-faring. It is very much a story of social engineering in the mode of Ender's Game. It asks the same question, what would you do to a group of young people who must must fulfill the desperate mission of Earth? Instead of competitive geniuses though, these engineers cr...more
Surprisingly enjoyable for a quick science fiction YA novel. The jargon gets really grating sometimes, but the mechanics of the setting and the grind of working through schoolwork, not to mention the 'engineering' are all both novel and make the plot more interesting to move through. Didn't like the games etc, smacked of Enders Game, and wasn't a big fan of the seeming need to explain each class in detail - I get it, these kids are superhuman.

It had all the aspects of a book I don't get into, ex...more
Nov 23, 2007 Camilla rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
A coming-of-age story told by a 13-year-old girl raised on a space station. The book deals with the socially-indoctrinated children born on the station, and their conflict with their Earth-born parents and the new boy in class.

I was a little surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did -- since the story is told in the form of an autobiography, the writing is often awkward, which I thought would annoy me. Instead, it helps make the protagonist's character more real.

I'd recommend it for teenage...more
TL Hudgins
An interesting look at what society could be if children were raised away from Earth.
Ashley Schwartau
The world building, language, and voice of this book were outstanding.

In some ways the main character reminded me of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird mixed with Ender from Ender's Games.

The overall plot was a little lackluster I think - like the big climax wasn't all that climactic and the resolution was like WHAT? really? Huh. Okay. Weird.

Can't say I'd want to continue reading the series but I did enjoy reading this one for the most part.
It's hard to really say why, but I think this has been done by others and done better. It's the story of kids on a space station who are going to inherit, basically, the remains of fucked-up humanity. Oh wait, I think my problem is that I read Beggars in Spain and this is a bit too along the same lines but can't quite compare. Maybe it's unfair to judge based on that but I can't help it. It was still an interesting story and worth reading.
Jesse Lucas
Refreshing to see a study of potential artificial cultures, as well as a well-developed hard-SF setting.
A sweet book about a young girl growing up in a dystopian future. Interesting in how understated it is: our young heroine thinks things are perfectly normal, has no idea that this future seems awful to the reader, and has no notions of revolution and going back to how things were.

Good stuff.
Tale of some youngsters growing up in an asteroid habitat. I never really understood the point of this one. I think the morale is that kids will inherit the world, and parents should not pollute their brains with old ways of thinking. But it is so dull. Pah.

Oct 08, 2011 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any fans of sci-fi
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Great story by one of my favorite authors. The main character, Melpomene, is a teenager growing up on a world called the Flying Dutchman, an asteroid colony, at a time when the Earth her parents left behind has been ravaged by war and pollution.
I loved this book. Lost it, or gave it away somewhere along the line. Forgot all about it, went crazy looking for it, and I finally just found it. Don't know if I will still like this book if I read it now, but it was awesome when I was a younger.
Nathan Avery
"Asteroid highschool" actually makes for more entertaining reading than one might expect.
Andrew Howell
Good short sci fi novel. Reminded me of Ender's game.
Mar 14, 2010 Jenne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenne by: Jo Walton
Shelves: sf
More teenage space engineers! But not four-armed, sadly.
Had potential, but never seemed to realize it.
Damn good science fiction.
I read this back when it was first released and loved it, but it's been so long that I'm re-reading it to see what I think today. It remains pretty interesting. Also, the author created a great slang for the 13-year-old main character and her friends living on an asteroid in Earth/Mars orbit. Lim koapy. Pos-def.
Dec 25, 2007 Mark rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: SciFi fans
I read this book a long time ago and can barely remember it. That probably tells you all you need to know about it's greatness. lol
Dichotomy Girl
Dichotomy Girl marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2014
Kellye marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2014
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John Barnes (born 1957) is an American science fiction author, whose stories often explore questions of individual moral responsibility within a larger social context. Social criticism is woven throughout his plots. The four novels in his Thousand Cultures series pose serious questions about the effects of globalization on isolated societies. Barnes holds a doctorate in theatre and for several yea...more
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